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USA: Rockford weighs potential of electric car power ports

ROCKFORD — AAA is getting ready to offer roadside help in select U.S. cities to drivers who run out of electricity.

In Normal, the first of 33 electric public vehicle charging stations are in place in anticipation of 1,000 electric cars that Japanese automaker Mitsubishi will allocate to the area in coming years.

Clean Fleet Report said more than 100 companies will be competing in the U.S. for a share of the electric vehicle market in 2012.

No formal plan yet
It has Rockford regional planners beginning to consider how to handle a future fleet of electric vehicles, as cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are poised to move into the mainstream when they hit the local market in late 2011 or early 2012.

Steve Ernst, executive director of the Rockford Metropolitan Planning Agency, said his agency is watching how other communities are using public charging stations for electric vehicles. There is no formal plan yet here.

“A lot of that depends on what the auto manufacturers do, especially Detroit,” said Ernst.

Logical places for charging stations include municipal parking lots, Rock Valley and Rockford colleges, Chicago Rockford International Airport, and shopping centers, he said.
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